​Globe Telecom wants to bring 90 percent of the Philippines online

The largest local telco wants to help change the country through connectivity to enable Filipinos to live a digital lifestyle, its CIO has said.

In the Philippines, 80 percent of homes don't have fixed broadband access, but local telecommunications provider Globe Telecom wants to change this, aiming to have 90 percent of Filipinos connected to the internet over the next few years.

At the AWS re:Invent Partner Keynote on Tuesday in Las Vegas, Globe Telecom CIO Pebbles Sy-Manalang said that 40 percent of the country's 107 million people that are spread across 7,600 islands currently do not have access to the internet.

"Many Filipinos don't have access to basic services, 70 percent are unbanked ... there's only one doctor for every 33, 000 people in some rural areas and 40 percent don't graduate from high school," Sy-Manalang explained.

"While the internet has changed the lives of many around the world, it still needs to trickle down to the poorest of our population."

In addition to the eight in 10 homes that do not have fixed broadband access, 10 percent of communities in the Philippines have no mobile coverage, and 40 percent of the population do not have access to the internet at all, Sy-Manalang said.

Globe Telecom, however, wants to have a big impact on society and given the company's scale, Sy-Manalang believes Globe is well-positioned to help achieve this.

"Our vision goes beyond being number one in telecommunications, we believe that we can help build a Philippines where families dreams come true, businesses flourish ... we want to uplift the lives of Filipinos by improving overall connectivity in our country," she explained.

"We see connectivity as key in addressing issues such as financial inclusion, healthcare, and education."

Globe Telecom boasts 65 million mobile subscribers, and Sy-Manalang said the company can directly serve over 400,000 small and medium enterprises across its network of 1.2 million retailers and distributors.

"In the next few years, we want to connect 2 million homes with high speed broadband at 50mbps [minimum] speeds and we aim for 90 percent of Filipinos to be online," she said.

However, Sy-Manalang said that while the network organisation was going full steam ahead and the business forged partnerships to build new digital products, IT had to shift from being transactional and focusing on operations, to having a bigger and more strategic role in the company.

"We needed to deliver scalable and reliable platforms, and increase agility while keeping our costs down," she said.

To support this mandate, Globe identified eight transformation pillars: digital operations, digital infrastructure, agile at scale, digital back offices, business value optimisation, digital workforce, self-service insights, and intelligent security.

But Globe needs partners that can bring all of these moving parts together.

"AWS played a critical role in helping us realise our digital transformation goals across these pillars," she said. "We now rely heavily on AWS services ... the scale is beyond what we had imagined."

Globe uses AWS for its web portal, content registration platforms, online store, and self-service apps; it also uses services such as Amazon EC2, Amazon RDS, and AWS Lambda for its daily business workloads and processes.

"With AWS and our partner community, we see a true digital future for the Philippines," she concluded.

"Together we are helping change our country and enable Filipinos to live a digital lifestyle."

Disclosure: Asha McLean travelled to AWS re:Invent as a guest of AWS

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